FDA restrictions planned for e-cigs.
WASHINGTON » The Food and Drug Administration, alarmed by a huge increase in vaping among minors, is expected to impose severe restrictions on the sale of most e- cigarettes products throughout the United States — actions that will likely have a significant impact on an industry that has grown exponentially in recent years with little government oversight.
As soon as next week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of f lavored e- cigarettes — the majority of vaping products sold — in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to senior agency officials. According to its officials, the agency will also impose such rules as age-verification requirements for online sales.
The FDA moves are being spurred by preliminary government data showing e- cigarette use rose 77 percent among high schoolers and nearly 50 percent among mid- dle schoolers in 2018. That means 3.5 million children were vaping in early 2018, up 1 million from 2017.
Gottlieb, who once served on the board of a North Carolina vaping company, was at one time viewed as an ally of the e- cigarette industry, and delayed some critical ecigarette rules shortly after becoming commissioner in 2017. But he has also said his first priority is protecting kids from tobacco-related disease.
“We now have evidence that a new generation is being addicted to nicotine, and we can’t tolerate that,” he said, referring to the vaping data in an interview before he made final decisions on e- cigarette policy.
The only exception to the f lavored products ban in convenience stores involves menthol e- cigarette products. The FDA will continue to permit that f lavor to be sold because menthol is permitted in regular cigarettes as well, and the agency doesn’t want to give traditional cigarettes an advantage over e- cigarettes in the retail setting.